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The HR Specialist: California Employment Law

In uncertain economic times, employers place a premium on flexibility. That includes being able to retain the most talented, productive and experienced employees, and perhaps terminating those with more seniority. But that can lead to discrimination claims over age and other characteristics …

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed California’s new law allowing military spouses to take leave. The law requires some employers to provide up to 10 days of unpaid leave to the spouse of a qualified member of the U.S. armed forces, National Guard or reserves. Here are employer guidelines on exactly how to administer this new entitlement …

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The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) recently conducted two days of sweeps at approximately 100 car washes in six Southern California counties, uncovering an array of employment law violations …

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The quarterly UCLA Anderson Forecast predicts that accelerating job losses in construction and real estate finance will weaken California’s economy further than expected. However, unless another factor emerges, California will narrowly avoid a recession and instead will record “very weak but positive payroll growth through late 2008” …

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The U.S. Labor Department announced that a Southern California company paid $200,013 in back wages for unpaid overtime to 231 current and former employees. Memo Scaffolding, which specializes in setting up scaffolding for residential and commercial construction projects, also paid $60,000 incivil penalties …

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On Oct. 3, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri approved motions to allow the managers of Interstate Bakeries Corp. to go ahead with plans to close most of its Southern California operations …

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A California appeals court ruled that employees can still participate in class-action wage-and-hour lawsuits even if they signed arbitration agreements waiving their rights to those kinds of suits as a condition of continued employment. The court said such agreements are unconscionable and therefore not enforceable …

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Employees are more productive if they have windows in their work areas, according to a recent study. That’s one reason the new SAP labs in Palo Alto have incorporated lots of windows. Does it really work? …

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A report published by the nonprofit California Budget Project has found that job growth in California was considerably concentrated at the highest and lowest ends of the earnings range. According to the report, A Generation of Widening Inequality, which was issued on Aug. 23, the gap between the two ends has widened in the past decade and will continue to do so in the coming years …

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In a case filed by a 24-year human services department employee who was diagnosed with panic disorder and agoraphobia, Sonoma County agreed to settle a claim that the county failed to accommodate his disability …

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